Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswati was recognized with the special Ahimsa award by the Parliament of World Religions in Toronto, Canada, for his exceptional contributions which, according to PWR, have enhanced and strengthened the interfaith community through non-violence.
His unparalleled service to humanity is a great example of peace and compassion in action, according to the press release.
Swami Chidanand Saraswati is regarded as one of India’s renowned spiritual leaders and is currently the president of Parmarth Niketan, one of India’s largest interfaith spiritual institutions.
He is also the co-founder of Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, the first alliance of religious leaders working for water, sanitation and hygiene, which was launched by UNICEF at their World Headquarters in New York City during the General Assembly sessions at the United Nations.
He also founded the Ganga Action Parivar, which supports and is dedicated to the Clean Ganga Movement; the Divine Shakti Foundation for educating and empowering women and girls; and the India Heritage Research Foundation.
“Ahimsa is not simply an absence of violence. It is a fullness of peace, a fullness of embracing and acting from the truth of our highest united humanity. Pujya Swamiji sees not only bombs, guns and armed conflict as violence. He also sees starving children, homeless orphans, women without access to clean water or toilets, death by diarrhea, polluted rivers and felled trees as violence,” Sadhvi Bhagawati, president of Divine Shakti Foundation, secretary-general of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, and a disciple of Chidanand Saraswati, is quoted saying in a press release.
“His life has been dedicated to eradicating all forms of violence, not only armed conflict, but also universal access to safe and sufficient water, access to health care and education. Wherever Pujya Swamiji goes He embodies ahimsa, whether picking up trash on the banks of a river or picking up people’s spirits, whether building schools, women’s centers, hospitals and sewage treatment plants or building bridges between people in conflict,” she added.
The Parliament of Religions was founded in 1893 when Swami Vivekananda delivered his historic address in Chicago. According to organizers, approximately 10,000 people from 50 different religious lineages and 80 regions of the world, are attending this year’s event at the Toronto Metro Convention Center for their 7th Parliament.